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Expat wanderer

The War We are Losing: Assault of American Servicewomen

Shocking, and sad. What can be worse than serving your country and to be assaulted by a member of your own team? To double that shock and betrayal, to have the team captains bury your injury for the sake of the team?? I thank God for the gals that are taking their cases to civil court and making a stink. Sometimes, that is what it takes to make people pay attention.

I have a friend, a friend in her sixties. She has served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a civilian, and she has had senior officers stalk and attack her. She is disgusted that senior leaders could feel so entitled, and so free from constraints.

I can’t print this whole article here, but it is fascinating. You can read the entire article from Huffpost: HERE.

Active-duty female personnel make up roughly 14.5 percent — or 207,308 members — of the more than 1.4 million Armed Forces, according to the Department of Defense.

One in three military women has been sexually assaulted, compared to one in six civilian women, according to Defense. According to calculations by The Huffington Post, a servicewoman was nearly 180 times more likely to have become a victim of military sexual assault (MSA) in the past year than to have died while deployed during the last 11 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the most recent report by the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, 3,192 sexual assaults were reported out of an estimated 19,000 — roughly 52 a day — between Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 31, 2011. The department estimates that only roughly 14 percent of the assaults were reported. The majority of sexual assaults each year are committed against service members by service members, SAPRO reports. While MSA does not affect only women, the office characterizes the “vast majority” of victims as female junior enlists under the age of 25, and the “vast majority” of perpetrators as male, older (under the age of 35) and generally higher-ranking.

Last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered a sweeping review of all initial military training across the services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The move resulted in part from mounting pressure at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where at least 43 women have recently come forward as victims of sexual assault. Every aspect of training, from the selection of instructors who directly supervise trainees to the number of female instructors, is under consideration. And a day after Panetta issued the directives, Defense officials revealed that Jeffrey A. Sinclair — a brigadier general with five combat tours behind him — is facing possible courts martial on charges ranging from inappropriate relationships with female subordinates to forcible sodomy.

On Friday, Panetta called the military’s record on prosecuting MSA an “outrage.”

Panetta’s refrain for years has been heartening: “One sexual assault is too many.”

To which Havrilla responds, “This whole concept of ‘zero tolerance,’ it’s just words and no action.”

“You can’t leave. You can’t quit. You can’t walk away.”

We were in the military when the first women were sent to serve with formerly all-male battalions. There was a lot of controversy, and a lot of chagrin among the men. I think those first women were some of the bravest women ever. Almost forty years later, the battle is still being fought. Militaries attract the guys with high testosterone, the guys who don’t think the rules, laws and boundaries apply to them – and slowly, slowly, they have to be brought to understand that yes, the rules apply to them, and that forcible sex with another woman – or man – is OFF LIMITS. Bravo to those brave women who go public and create awareness and disgust for this problem. Evil whens men get away with this despicable crime.

It makes me sad that this story is out on a Saturday, when few people read the news. I am hoping you will take the time to go read this report.

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Counter-terrorism, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Leadership, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Statistics, Women's Issues | 2 Comments